To take up with Bangladesh grant of transit permission
Targeted to be fully commissioned by April, 2012
ONGC has 50 per cent stake in the project
Palatana (Tripura): Union Minister of State for Power and Commerce Jairam Ramesh on Sunday said that he would take up with the Bangladesh government the grant of transit permission for consignments for the 726.6 MW gas-based power project, from Haldia port in Kolkata to the project site here via Ashuganj in Bangladesh and Akhura Land Custom Station on the India-Bangladesh border in Tripura.
Mr. Ramesh, is scheduled to leave for Bangladesh on October 31.
The Union Minister, however, told The Hindu at the project site that he was not hopeful of Bangladesh giving consent. He said Dhaka said ‘no’ to an earlier proposal.
Mr. Ramesh said while transit through Bangladesh could be a bonus for the project, an alternative logistics route from Kolkata port via Badarpur in Assam to Palatana has been finalised for the Rs. 3,600-crore power project. He announced that though delayed by three years since the foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 29, 2005, this third largest power project in the north-east was now targeted to be fully commissioned by April, 2012.
The power project is being set up at Palatana, 60 km. from Tripura’s capital city Agartala, by the ONGC-Tripura Power Company (OTPC) Private Limited. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which has 50 per cent stake in the company, will supply 3 million cubic metres of gas every day for generation of power in this project.
The plant would source its fuel requirements from the ONGC’s gas fields located within 30-40 km. from the plant site. The Mumbai-based financial institution IL& FS has a stake of 26 per cent while the Tripura government has picked up 0.5 per cent stake in the OTPC.
Accompanied by Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey, the Union Minister inaugurated site offices of OTPC and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at Udaipur. Mr. Ramesh said that Tripura would get 200 MW, while Assam would get 245 MW from the plant.
Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides and the only land route access to the state from within India is through Assam. The route through Assam passes through hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends. To address problems related to logistics arrangements for the project, the OTPC had appointed Assam Bengal Carriers Consultants, which had identified Kolkata as the most suitable discharge port due to strategic location and availability of adequate capacity.
It has been estimated that transit through Bangladesh will facilitate the completion of the project earlier — by at least six months. The total distance by waterway and roadway from Kolkata port to the project site through Ashuganj will be 979 km. as against 2,090 km. via the Badarpur/Karimganj route within India.
Both the OTPC and the BHEL told the Union Minister that using the waterway from Haldia port to Ashuganj in Bangladesh and then the road from Ashuganj to Palatana is the most convenient route.
Mr. Ramesh said that apart from the Rs. 3,600-crore investment in the power project an investment of Rs. 1,700 crore would be made by the Powergrid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) for transmission lines to evacuate power from the Palatana power plant.
Single largest investment
Besides, the ONGC would also invest about Rs. 4,000 crore for producing gas in Tripura to make it available for the project, he said. This is the single largest investment — to the tune of about Rs. 9,000 crore — in Tripura after Independence.